Cross country teams conclude season

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Andrew Maal passes an opponent in the USCAA meet at Virginia Beach. Photo courtesy of UD Athletics.

The University of Dallas cross country teams concluded their season on Friday, Nov 9. at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Championship meet in Virginia Beach. For many members of the team, this was their first time running at the USCAA National Championship.

“It was a little disorienting racing against teams from the east coast who we have never faced before,” said freshman Anna Wilgenbusch. “I find it very motivating to know my competitors and know what kind of race they will run. This meet I certainly did not have that advantage.”

“I came away very impressed,” said Head Coach Matt Barber. “Both teams knew they had a chance to improve on last year’s results and it was just a matter of letting loose.”

UDs men’s team scored 181 points to finished 6th out of the 16 teams present, missing 5th place by 2 points. Warren Wilson College finished ahead of Dallas scoring 179 points.

The women’s team finished 4 of 8, scoring 88 points. Warren Wilson College women’s team finished in 5th place with a score of 193. The men’s meet champions were SUNY Delhi with a score of 19, and the women’s champion was SUNY ESF with a score of 25.

“I’m ecstatic [with] how cross-country ended yesterday,” said Wilgenbusch. “The reality that the season has ended hasn’t quite hit me yet. I’m still living off the excitement of Virginia Beach.”

Several Crusaders had notable performances. Wilgenbusch finished 5th of all runners with a time of 24:32. Her top 14 performance earned her USCAA All-American honors. Wilgenbusch become the 8th UD women’s cross country USCAA All-American and joins Bridget Kennedy (2015), Angela Moore (2016) and Thomas Hogan (2016) as just the 4th total Crusader to become an All-American since Barber took over program in 2014.

“I’m proud to join the seven other UD USCAA All-American runners,” said Wilgenbusch.  “I’m thrilled to give UD another victory.”

“Anna is fearless,” said Barber. “She hasn’t been afraid of one course or team all year. That kind of fire and competitiveness from such a sweetheart does wonders for a team. She will stare down an All-American and push them out of their comfort zone early; this girl has a lot more room to grow.”

Freshman Sabrina Lucio and Sophomore Joseph Kilmer each missed becoming USCAA All-Americans by one place, both finished 15th.

Sophomore Elijah Depew ran a season’s best 30:10, and freshmen Michael Bujard and Gabe Volpe ran personal bests with times of 31:18 and 31:47, respectively.

“This was not a “PR day” with the mud and wind and everything and somehow Michael and Gabe ran their PRs regardless,” said Barber. “Sabrina ran her best race of the year bar none and was a big part of our team finish. She placed as the 15th overall runner and just barely missed All-USCAA.”

The Crusader look to build off of their successes from this season, and seek to improve themselves once next fall comes around.

“I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some fresh talent next season from the freshmen,” said Wilgenbusch. “In the meantime, I will keep training for and looking forward to whatever next season holds.”

“[We will] take a deep breath, eat some turkey, and get to work again after finals,” said Barber. “Running is a year round lifestyle. The positive to not having many seniors is that we should be returning, plus and minus Romers, an already stellar team that’ll be ready to improve as a unit once again [next year].”

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